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Monthly Archives: February 2013

  • Searching for Searches

    Posted on February 23, 2013 by Chris Ballinger

    Late last year we moved over to a new shopping cart platform. This new system allows for all kinds of great perks including wishlists, discounts, paying with Paypal and more. But in our quest to help our customers easily find what they were looking for, we found the search function to be okay, but not uber-fantastic (which--of course--is the goal.)

    Our solution is to put our very best programmers on the case and cater the search function to you, the customer. But in order to do that, we need your help!

    If you have searched for something and couldn't easily find what you were looking for please let us know. Post a comment on this blog post saying "I'm searching for _________" and fill in the blank with whatever it is that you are searching for on the site. By doing so, you will be helping yourself and future Magic Geeks find what they are looking for!

    For any search posted, we'll either fix the search function to easily find that product or category and if not, we'll answer you directly through the blog comments. As always, we appreciate your input and look forward to hearing your suggestions.


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  • Winner-Winner Chicken Dinner

    Posted on February 14, 2013 by Chris Ballinger

    Congratulations to "Julie Nelson" winner of the Killer Bee Word Search Challenge. Julie found all of the correct words, used all of the letters found in the middle of each word in the hexagonal grid and unscrambled them to make the word "Ransom". What could be a more fitting prize than a one-of-a-kind Collector's Edition Ransom Case?

    Ransom Collector's Edition

    This custom-made Case contains three stacks of million dollar bills which can be used to perform the Ransom Bill switch or just left as a handsome display. Under the secret panel there is an original illustration from this month's Geeky Times, a letter form me (Chris Ballinger) and all the props that come with Ransom.

    Word Search Grand Prize

    The aluminum cast itself is decorated in Ransom style and is signed by the creator of the trick.

    Ransom truly is my favorite impromptu magic trick and I perform it more than any of the other tricks that I have created. This true collector's item is and will remain the only one of its kind to ever exist and we are very excited to present it to the winner of this month's Geeky Times Word Search Challenge.

    Chris Ballinger's Ransom

    If you think that you've figured out the word search too, please post a picture of it on my facebook wall and I'll send you your choice of a signed Chris Ballinger trick of $20 value or less. If you've ordered from us this month, you already have the word search in your possession. If you haven't, you'd better hurry and get a copy of this month's Geeky Times because I'm only accepting winners until February 28th.


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  • Overly-Epic

    Posted on February 6, 2013 by Chris Ballinger

    I'll be the first to admit it, I go a little over-the-top with some of the video demos I do. Just sort of happens.

    For example: did I have to dress up like royalty and dance around in the Baroque Deck demo just because their tag line is "Cards for kings"? Stronger men than I may have been able to resist, but not me. I absolutely had to do that.

    Magic Geek Baroque Deck Trailer


    Did I have to wear flippers in the Freefall Demo? No. But I did.

    Andrew Mayne's Freefall

    Did I have to sing a love song to a small clay figure in the Little Man video demo? Well, the answer to that one is "Yes" I definitely did. Paul Harris asked me to. But that's just the point, when I worked on the Little Man project I already had the reputation as a guy who just can't control his silliness and that's why Paul asked me to do it.

    So when a new accessory like the Chain of Silks comes into the warehouse, I can't just put a photo and text description on the website and call it a day. I have to--HAVE TO--make a fool of myself.

    This actual photo of me as a child illustrates how deeply embedded this silliness is in my blood:


    As you can clearly see, it was inevitable that I would take an accessory that works perfectly fine in a children's birthday party setting or in a classic stage production and force it into a modern street magic style video.

    Take a deep breath, and enjoy:

    If you perform at birthday parties or on stage I highly recommend the Chain of Silks. It's a classic that always gets a good response. But if you're a street performer and you're thinking of using this, just make sure you're doing it ironically.


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  • Creative Process

    Posted on February 5, 2013 by Chris Ballinger

    Since I started producing magic tricks magicians have been asking me what my creative process is. I never really considered my "creative process" before getting asked this question. So, I went back and took a look at what I had done to produce tricks like Redemption and the Shark.

    Chris Ballinger's Redemption

    At first glance, it looked pretty random. Some tricks I came up with a plot and built a method around that; others, I built a cool prototype or concept and had no idea what to do with it. In either case, the goal was to think up how to make my half-concocted idea into a full, usable routine.

    So how does that happen?

    I think the best thing is to study as much as possible so that you always have that data in the back of your mind. Then, don't force an idea to hard. If you get stuck, move on to something else and let your subconscious mind work out the problem.

    In almost every trick I've released, I've gotten stumped (usually more than once) and I've set the trick aside only to come back to the project with a new outlook. I hadn't been consciously thinking about it, but in the back of my mind the wheels had still been turning.

    Magic Geek Dart Board

    When moving into our new warehouse, we had all of this in mind. The very first thing that we put up in the office was a dart board. As far back as I have been creating magic, I have played darts when working out an issue. I'm not very good at darts, but for some reason, it is just the right amount of distraction to allow my subconscious mind to go to town on a complex problem.

    The lounge area of Magic Geek is a lot of fun. You can find my guitars on either side of our 60" flat screen. Playing music is another thing that I'm not very good at, but focusing on it helps me work out problems without getting frustrated.

    Magic Geek Lounge Area

    This shot also shows something else that I used to distract myself. The guitar on the left was designed and built by one of our former employees, Aidan and myself. It is covered in bits of playing card and the shape of the tuning head was inspired by the back design of a Bicycle playing card. Building and designing something can be another excellent way to keep your mind working without blocking your thought process.

    I feel like I should point out that the TV is not a good way to work out a problem. Neurologists have found that watching TV decreases brain activity even more than sleeping. We never watch the TV during work hours and it's really just there for webcam meetings and such.

    Another fun activity at the Magic Geek offices is the Ms. Pacman Machine. Not only was it a fun project to refurbish this table-top style arcade game, but it serves as a healthy two-person distraction.

    Magic Geek Ms. Pacman Machine

    By using a multi-player game, we can promote bonding between employees while stimulating the puzzle-solving areas of our brain.

    Magic Geek Ms. Pacman Machine

    The latest installment at the Magic Geek head-offices is a half-court basketball set-up. This serves the same function as the Ms. Pacman Machine, while also promoting physical activity. This results in higher brain function and healthier employees. Win-win.

    Magic Geek Basketball Court

    The custom basketball key on the floor was painted by myself and was another great opportunity for my brain to do some problem solving.

    To some, this may look like distractions that are all fun and games, but the reality is that these things help make Magic Geek a better place to work and do business with. Throughout history, some of the most creative and successful companies and individuals have used things like puzzles, building blocks, Zen rock gardens and other "distractions" to keep momentum going on the projects that really mattered.

    Now, I'm not saying that to create magic tricks you need to convert a room in your house into a basketball court. I am suggesting that by finding a healthy distraction from a difficult problem that you are trying to solve helps your subconscious mind put the puzzle pieces together.

    At some point you need to force yourself to stop with the distractions and focus on completing the project you started initially, but usually these breaks make it easier to pick up where you left off with a fresh new outlook.

    But it won't work if you don't already have the information floating around somewhere in the back of your mind; so first you must study, study, study. Then you can build that basketball court in your basement.


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  • Win Stuff with the Geeky Times

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by Chris Ballinger

    February's issue of the Geeky Times is very exciting. Not only does it have the original artwork, articles and product reviews, but it also has a chance to win an awesome prize that is so cool, we can't even tell you what it is.

    Geeky Times Newsletter

    I usually put some sort of puzzle or riddle in the Geeky Times, but this time it is so intense that I decided whoever figures it out first has to get a very cool prize. Here'how the game works: it's in honor of the response that Killer Bee has been getting, so the entire puzzle is honeycomb shaped. Find clusters of seven letters that make up the answers to six magic-related questions. When you find all six answers, use the six letters at the center of each one to unjumble the secret code word. Be the first to post the code word here on the blog and get the prize.

    Are you up for the challenge?

    Killer Bee

    Even if you don't participate in the word search challenge, you can still enjoy the rest of the Geeky Times which includes an article on an upcoming customer loyalty program, Kid's show magic, and the Demo for Chain of Silks. Plus reviews on my newest release DOS and Shin Lims S.S.S..

    As always the Geeky Times is a free newsletter, but the only way to get a copy is to place an order for anything at Magic Geek. A new issue of the Geek Times comes out every month and it's always full of magic goodies.


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